MLB Draft: Two U-M Juniors, Three Signees Selected

Submitted by Raoul on June 7th, 2014 at 5:07 PM

Two Michigan juniors and three Michigan signees were selected on day three of the MLB draft. Junior right-hander James Bourque was the first picked, going in the 14th round (#424 overall) to the Washington Nationals. Erik Bakich had gone into the draft expecting Bourque to be drafted and to sign, and he indicated that again in an MLive article today. 

"He is a hard-thrower," Bakich said, in a phone interview Saturday. "He got his fastball up to 96 miles per hour by the end of the season, and he has stuff with his fastball and curveball that from a professional standpoint is really good."

. . .

"Any where a player gets drafted on day three of the draft gives them a good opportunity to start a professional career," Bakich said.

Bakich expects Bourque to sign with the Nationals.

But in a Freep article, Bourque sounded more uncertain:

Bourque has no idea of his plans, whether he’ll sign or return for his senior year at Michigan, but the uncertain part is over.

“I’m definitely more relieved,” he said. “The whole draft process gets old and you don’t really get any news until you see your name on the draft board... I’m just more relieved and glad it’s done and I can focus on what I’m doing now and talk to them.”

The Tigers drafted junior southpaw Trent Szkutnik in the 20th round (#610 overall). As with Bourque, Bakich had been anticipating that Szkutnik would go pro. That still seems to be the case given that he's a local product, who went to high school at Temperance Bedford and is a Tigers fans. Here's a quote from an MLive article:

"It is great to see the team from our state take Trent," Michigan baseball coach Erik Bakich said. "Everyone is extremely excited about him getting a chance to play professional baseball here in Michigan."

The first Michigan signee drafted was Drew Lugbauer, a 6-4 catcher out of Arlington H.S. in New York, selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in round 21 (#624 overall). A local news article indicates he's still planning on coming to Ann Arbor:

"We spoke to the Blue Jays before the draft and they knew I was going to school. I'm really thankful they selected me,'' Lugbauer said.

"I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing and try to develop as a player to the best of my ability (at Michigan).''

With Cole Martin graduating this year, Lugbauer could be a key member of the 2014 class.

Taken in round 26 (#786 overall) by the Texas Rangers was another signee, Jayce Vancena, a right-handed pitcher out of Lake H.S. in Millbury, Ohio. The Rangers had expressed serious interest in Vancena heading into the draft, even summoning him down to Texas for a pre-draft workout and forcing him to miss a playoff game in the process (according to this article).

The Tigers drafted a second Michigan signee in round 31 (#940 overall)—Grant Reuss, a left-handed pitcher from Cranbrook Kingswood H.S.

Note that July 18 is the deadline for drafted players and teams to reach deals.



June 7th, 2014 at 5:13 PM ^

First one has incorrect first name.




June 7th, 2014 at 5:38 PM ^

I was actually looking at the Tigers' picks to date earlier and saw this name. According to the site, Reuss is actually a Cranbrook kid on top of everything else. We're deep into Round 32 now, so I don't think the Tigers have any more picks at this point, but it is indeed nice to see Michigan players getting a foot in the door in the MLB as always. 


June 7th, 2014 at 7:35 PM ^

The final round, round 40, just ended, with no further current or future Wolverines selected. One surprise is that signee Ryan Nutof, a right-handed pitcher out of the South Elgin H.S. in Illinois, went undrafted as he had been the subject of some draft buzz. There's still the chance that he or other undrafted players could sign with a team as an undrafted free agent, so that's another bit of uncertainty to keep in mind over the next several weeks.


June 7th, 2014 at 7:38 PM ^

Here's part of Michigan's press release on the draft, with details on the signees drafted:

Lugbauer, a catcher, was a Perfect Game Third Team All-America selection and an All-Northeast Region first team selection at Arlington High School in LaGrangeville, N.Y. He was the Poughkeepsie Journal High School Player of the Year as a junior after hitting .446 with four home runs and a .723 slugging percentage. He also helped Arlington to the Section 1 Class AA semifinal as a senior.

Vancena, a right-handed pitcher, went 8-1 with a 0.71 ERA for Lake High School in Millbury, Ohio. He helped Lake to a Northern Buckeye Conference title, a 19-game win streak and 27 total wins. Vancena threw two no-hitters in 2014, including a 16-strikeout no-hitter against Elmwood (April 16). He was a Perfect Game 2013 Underclass honorable mention and a 2014 Perfect Game All-Central Region selection.

Reuss, a left-handed pitcher, was a Perfect Game 2014 All-Central Region second team selection and a 2013 Underclass High Honorable Mention at Cranbrook Kingswood High School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. He is fourth on Prep Baseball Report's ranking of seniors in the State of Michigan and was a 2014 Louisville Slugger Preseason High School All-American. Reuss had 64 strikeouts in 29.2 innings pitched as a junior.

Michigan Players Selected in 2014 MLB Draft

Name Position Team Round (Pick)
James Bourque RHP Washington Nationals 14th (424)
Trent Szkutnik LHP Detroit Tigers 20th (610)
Drew Lugbauer* C Toronto Blue Jays 21st (624)
Jayce Vancena* RHP Texas Rangers 26th (786)
Grant Reuss* LHP Detroit Tigers 31st (940)

*U-M signee


June 7th, 2014 at 9:25 PM ^

DetNews article on Tigers draftees indicates Szkutnik will likely sign:

“It kind of gives you the goosebumps anytime you get attention from your hometown team,” said Szkutnik, a left-handed pitcher from Temperance Bedford. “Still, it’s really surreal seeing the Detroit Tigers call you.”

. . .

Szkutnik knew he was likely to get drafted, but didn’t know when — or by whom. That’s standard in the unpredictable baseball draft.

So rather that sit by the TV and computer Friday and Saturday, he kept himself busy with yard work and washing cars. Then, that call came.

And within a few days, he’s likely to sign — and start his career, with the Tigers.

“They knew I wanted to be a Tiger,” said Szkutnik, who in high school led Temperance Bedford to a Division 1 runner-up showing in 2011.

"That’s just awesome."

Mike Kenn

June 7th, 2014 at 9:02 PM ^

his best opportunity for a professional career in michigan is with the western michigan whitecaps (class A) , not the detroit tigers. until then he can have fun in conneticut and then lakeland flordia


June 8th, 2014 at 9:57 AM ^

Local paper interviewed Jayce Vancena, getting his initial thoughts on his upcoming decision:

“It would have to be a certain number,” Vancena said in regards to a signing bonus in deciding whether or not to forgo college. “Right now, I’m excited to go to the University of Michigan and if anything happens with the Rangers, I’m all for it.”

Vancena said he plans to be in negotiations with the Rangers next week and after talking to them, he will make a firm decision about attending Michigan.